Author Topic: Add: Gathering Peascods


Posted - 18 Sep 03 - 09:55 am

Gathering peascods,
Amidst the rows so green,
With bonny Bet, my queen;
Tossing the peascods
I' faith we had rare fun,
The work seem'd never done;
'Twas sweetest summer weather,
I plucked the peascods fast,
Then in her apron cast,
So being together,
Each turn I did not miss
To pluck as well a kiss.

Shelling of peascods
Beside the preety wench,
A-seated on one bench;
Shelling of peascods
Into a maple bowl,
And she a merry soul;
So shelling without missing
A single pea, I said,
My labours must be paid
Only by kissing.
Fly winter! I were fain
'Twere peascods time again!

Source: Sabine Baring Gould, 1895, Old English Songs from English Minstrelsie


This is taken from the selection of the eight volume work by Baring Gould of the same name, reprinted by Llanerch Publishers.

Notes are not given in the selection, but are in the full eight volume work to which I do not have access. Therefore I cannot give any information about where and when this song was collected.

I have known this tune for some thirty years or so, when I learnt the Playford dance , but the lyrics are nothing like so well-known. The dance is in the 1651 edition of Playford's "The English Dancing Master", a facsimile of which is available from EFDSS.

Database entry is here.

Pip Freeman

Posted - 18 Sep 03 - 10:08 am

I have never come across that tune, it was fun trying to match it to the dance.

masato sakurai

Posted - 18 Sep 03 - 10:20 am

Gathering Peascods at The Dancing Master, 1651-1728: An Illustrated Compendium.

Malcolm Douglas
Posted - 18 Sep 03 - 12:59 pm

According to both Chappell and Kidson, no "original" words are known for this tune, nor is there any particular reason to think that there were any. Chappell published a form of the tune with a lyric specially commissioned from J. A. Wade. The text above looks like something Baring Gould may have written himself, but I won't now have the chance to look at the notes provided with the full edition for a while. Although there are some songs in the Minstrelsie which were taken from tradition (frequently with new words set to them), the majority are old popular and minor art songs from printed sources.

masato sakurai

Posted - 18 Sep 03 - 04:27 pm

(1) is from Chappell's Popular Music; (2) from J. Oxenford's Old English Ditties, vol. 1 (n.d. [1884?]). Only the first satnzas are quoted; the music is the same.
Words by J.A Wade

How pleasant is it in the blossom of the year,
To stray and find a nook
Where nought doth fill the hollow of the list'ning ear,
Except the murm'ring brook;

(2) AUTUMN GOLDEN LEAF (tune: "The Gathering of the Peascods")
The modern words by George Macfarren

Why should we sorrow that summer's dazzling ray
So soon should pass away,
Whilst we can borrow from Autumn's yellow light
A scene more truly bright?

Mr Happy

Posted - 23 Sep 03 - 09:44 am

'A peascod is the padding in the belly area of a doublet, worn by men in the late 16th century.'


Is this right? or is a peascod something completely different?


Posted - 23 Sep 03 - 09:59 am

According to the OED, peascod and peasecod are equivalent and has only the one meaning, namely "the pod or legume of the pea plant; a pea pod". However, there is the compound term "peascod-bellied" given as "epithet of a doublet fashionable about the end of the 16th century, having the lower part stiffly quited and projecting."

Had the song been old enough, and the doublet worn by women, I would have suspected a deliberable double entendre. As it is, any connection is coincidental.

Edited By dmcg - 23-Sep-2003 10:03:29 AM

Mr Happy

Posted - 23 Sep 03 - 10:14 am

or could it be a pun/play on words:

peas[piece]- cod = cod piece?


Posted - 23 Sep 03 - 10:23 am

You may be right, Mr Happy. When I said "any connection is coincidental" I meant between this song and the doublet. Somehow, I don't see Baring Gould writing smutty '16th century' fakes to trick Victorian soirees(assuming Malcolm's surmise is correct). On the other hand, I can quite see the name of the doublet itself coming from such wordplay.

Edited By dmcg - 23-Sep-2003 10:24:38 AM

Jon Freeman

Posted - 23 Sep 03 - 10:57 am

Even if Baring Gould has not written this song, I don't think he would have published it if he felt it was smutty. He'd have been more likely to have provided new clean words.

Malcolm Douglas
Posted - 25 Sep 03 - 12:36 am

Baring Gould's notes confirm that he wrote the lyric for this one himself. No further information not already given.

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